About Online Classes
Our popular online classes are open to students of all experience levels. We have been teaching online classes for over eight years and deliver personalized high quality instruction in an online format. These four and six week classes are offered as virtual online learning opportunities. They are designed to provide a complete learning experience at a slower, more measured pace and without the added expense of travel and lodging. Students may log into the class blog at anytime. There are no scheduled times for the class to meet, so students may complete their work and study on their own schedules. Students also receive a bonus of an additional week to complete their assignments and post for comment. The class blog serves as an online studio/classroom where students and the instructor can interact. Students receive one on one critique and comment from the instructor.
Students have access to and may copy all class materials and also have access to class video demos for up to one year after the class ends.
The Class Blog
The class is centered around a private blog, accessible only by class participants. Classes are a great interactive learning experience with the class blog functioning as an online studio and classroom.
Several weeks before the class starts, students receive via email a materials list and reading list. About a week before the class starts students will receive an invitation via email to join the class blog. Each week on Friday a class assignment and lesson will be posted along with other pertinent information like examples of exercises or other concepts, video demos and written materials pertaining to that week’s topic. Students will complete their assignments and post them to the blog for discussion/critique by the following Friday. Most students post their work throughout the week and questions and comments are posted and responded to on a daily basis.
In order to fully participate students will need to be able to upload digital images to the blog.
Online Class Descriptions
Understanding Values in the Landscape Deborah Paris, Instructor
This class covers the use of value to create distance, depth, atmosphere and separation of the planes in the landscape according to Carlson’s Theory of Angles. In Values I a thorough study of Carlson’s Theory as well as exceptions and modifications will be explored. Atmospheric perspective and its effect on values in the landscape as an overlay to the Theory of Angles is also covered in depth. We study how to create certain effects of light by careful attention to the value range or ‘key’ which is used and how to compress the value range effectively from what is seen in Nature and what our materials are capable of producing. Students will learn the value ranges to use to create the illusion of a sunny day, an overcast day, a foggy or rainy day, backlighting, patchy sunlight, dusk, evening, and nocturnes.
Practical Color Mixing for Landscape Painters I Deborah Paris, Instructor
In this course we will cover:
~ how the three attributes of color–value, temperature and chroma–are the building blocks of color mixing
~understanding the color of light in the landscape and how it affects color we see and mix
~ learn how to mix accurately for value, temperature and chroma
~learn how to mix naturalistic greens and other “problem” colors in the landscape
~how to create color harmony
Practical Color Mixing II Deborah Paris, Instructor
This class will build on the concepts and skills gained in the first class. Applying what was learned, we will concentrate particularly on understanding the concepts of vibration, gradation and how color harmony is produced. We will also learn to reproduce particular atmospheric affects in the landscape by understanding the color of light and mixing accurately for value, temperature and chroma.
Drawing the Landscape (six weeks) Deborah Paris, Instructor
Drawing is an essential foundational skill for landscape painters which is all to often ignored or given short shift. Solid drawing skills give you the ability to edit the raw material that Nature provides into a work of art, freeing the artist from dependency on photography or merely copying Nature. Drawing skills are the first step toward being able to work successfully from memory and imagination and to effectively compose.
Working from Nature and direct observation is the time honored way to learn how to paint landscapes. Unfortunately, many aspiring landscape painters miss the essential first step: learning to draw and sketch in the field. If you are unable to draw the landscape you will have a much more difficult time learning to paint it convincingly. Most classes and workshops jump into plein air painting without giving students any tools to make a success of their efforts. This course is designed to give you the tools to draw and sketch in the field with confidence, both improving your plein air paintings and leading to better, finished work in the studio.
In this class, drawing materials and techniques will be fully explored and explained in video demonstrations. Principles of perspective, creating three dimensional form, identifying proper value relationships in the landscape, and drawing techniques for specific parts of the landscape will all be covered. This class will give the student the ability to draw the landscape with confidence and to use drawing as a effective means of gathering reference material for paintings.
The Strong Start- Techniques and Strategies for Successful Paintings – Plein Air & Studio
(Six weeks) Deborah Paris, Instructor
In this six week online class, we will tackle the important skills needed to make a strong start in your landscape paintings. Starting with skill building exercises and moving on to painting outdoors, this class will give you the skills and concepts to make strong starts which lead to successful painting results. The skills and concepts we will work on in this class can be applied to painting outdoors as well as studio work. Video demos, illustrations, step by step guides, and written lectures will give you the confidence and skills to paint outdoors in a group or on your own.
We will cover:
understanding the main four value zones in the landscape
how to see the big shapes in Nature- the “big look”
selection of subject- how to narrow your focus
using simple three and four value studies to see and organize big shapes
learning to edit – simplification and massing
how to use thumbnails to quickly investigate compositional possibilites.
how a simplified underpainting can provide a strong framework for your painting.
how to choose a color harmony for your painting
how premixing can simplify your painting process and ensure clean color
simplifying your “kit”- selecting equipment for painting outdoors
NEW*** Found Still Life/Painting Flowers in the Landscape Deborah Paris, Instructor
In this class students will focus on the foreground as a motif for finished paintings (found still life) and in particular painting flowers and grasses in the natural environment. Students will learn how to effectively compose the abundant but often busy motifs presented by flowers in their natural habitats, how to create a sense of depth in such intimate environments, and the essential skill of selective focus.
Painting the Luminous Landscape (six weeks) Deborah Paris, Instructor
This course is designed for intermediate to advanced oil painters, and will introduce students to the Tonalist landscape aesthetic and techniques. Tonalism, a distinct style of landscape painting which developed in the late 19th century, is experiencing a resurgence of interest today. It is characterized by simple design, a narrow range of values, a limited but luminous palette and an emphasis on atmospheric effects in the landscape, particularly during the hours of dawn, sunset, dusk and evening. Techniques for creating underpaintings, glazing and scumbling will be covered.
One of the hallmarks of the Tonalist aesthetic is an interest in the “Magic Hours”- dawn, sunset, twilight, evening, and of course, night. Learning to paint those effects is an essential part of understanding the Tonalist style.
Use Notan to Strengthen Your Landscape Compositions Deborah Paris, Instructor
Unleash the power of Notan in your landscape compositions. Notan (meaning light/dark harmony in Japanese) is a powerful design concept we can use to strengthen the impact of our landscape compositions. In this class we will learn about this concept, and how to take the visual clutter of the natural world and simplify it into big shapes. Notan helps us see and organize those big shapes to create an strong underlying structure for our landscape paintings.
In this class we will learn:
– how to see the big shapes in Nature
– how to simplify shapes and values in the landscape
– how to create 3-4 value studies to find the underlying structure of a composition
– how to further simplify your design using Notan (2 values)
Painting Water Deborah Paris, Instructor
For centuries the depiction of water has challenged artists. Its unique properties- transparent, reflective, moving, still- create wonderful visual opportunities. This course will cover water features such as rivers, lakes, creeks, and ponds. We’ll examine both the natural characteristics of water and techniques for depicting them:
~ how are reflections created and how to depict them
~ how the depth of water affects its color and value
~ the structure of waves
~ how the surface of water is affected by wind
~ techniques and color palettes for water
~ using water features in your compositions
Drawing the Landscape in Charcoal (Suggested Prerequisite Drawing the Landscape or drawing experience) Rob Wellings, Instructor
This simple medium has been utilized by artists both past and present for its unique qualities. Whether using charcoal for a simple sketch in the field or a large scale finished drawing, it is a perfect tool for landscape artists to achieve a full range of values, painterly drawing, and atmospheric effects. Because of these qualities, charcoal is the traditional medium for students transitioning from drawing to painting or for more advanced artists to use alongside their painting practice. Artists have also used charcoal for finished drawings that stand on their own.
In this class, the various kinds of charcoal, papers, and tools will be explored and explained through drawing assignments and demonstrations. Students will work in the field and studio to develop their understanding of how charcoal can be used to represent the landscape. Artists from the past and present will also be explored to appreciate and inspire this time-honored medium. This class will give the student the opportunity to further their drawings skills, develop an in depth understanding of charcoal, and explore its many uses for representing the landscape.
The Painted Sky Deborah Paris, Instructor
For landscape painters, painting a believable sky means creating a sense of distance, atmosphere, light, and mood. This course is designed to give students the knowledge and techniques to paint beautiful atmospheric skies. In this course we will cover:
~ gradation of colors in the sky at various times of day
~ gradation of values in the sky
~ types of cloud formations and how to depict them
~ use of atmospheric and linear perspective to create believable skies
~ glazes and scumbling techniques
~ using a variety of edges in painting skies
~ composing skies for maximum effect
Drawing and Painting Trees Deborah Paris, Instructor
For landscape artists, trees are arguably the most important raw material of our craft and art. Their very individual character, their attitude as living beings within the landscape make them a source of endless fascination and challenge for the artist. Artists in the 19th century routinely sketched and painted studies of these sentinels of nature in order to understand their structure as well as their artistic bearing. These drawings and studies were then used to create larger studio works.
John Carlson, author of Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting (the bible of landscape painting) rightly tells us that the way to learn to paint trees is by “much drawing of trees”. Through drawing and observation, we will learn to paint not only their anatomy, but their line, character, and the emotions they can inspire.
Topics covered in the class will include:
– a study of examples of 19th century drawings and painted studies
-materials and techniques for drawing in graphite and charcoal
-the structure of different species of trees, varieties of outlines and shapes against the sky
-making close studies of trees and portions of trees
-making painting studies of individual and groups of trees
-linear and atmospheric perspective of trees
-incorporating studies into studio works; compositional studies with trees
NEW *** Painting the Landscape Expressively Rob Wellings, Instructor
Tired of fussing around? This four week class is for painters interested in using a more suggestive, gestural mark making technique in their landscape paintings. Students will explore the different tools and techniques for a looser, expressive approach to representing the landscape. Learn the different ways painters have used the suggestive qualities of their tools to both describe their subjects and express an emotive quality. In this class we will cover how to think about painting expressively, how to begin and complete a painting without overworking, choices of brush and other tools, as well as different surfaces and textures.
The Training & Use of Visual Memory for Landscape Painters Deborah Paris, Instructor
This course will introduce students to the training of visual memory and its history as part of a landscape painter’s practice. The importance of memory training and the ability to use memory in one’s work cannot be overstated. Memory distills and intensifies observational experience, aids in the simplification and editing process, and has a direct correlation to the artist’s emotional response to the motif- clarifying both how to paint it and why to paint it. A well trained visual memory allows the artist to observe and retain the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere, reducing the reliance on photography. The sustained observation required to train memory deepens and focus’s the artist’s relationship with Nature. Memory acts as a bridge to competent work from imagination.
Students will learn through directed exercises how to strengthen their observational and memory skills. They will learn how to incorporate memory into their own work and to continue to improve their memory skills.
NEW **** Painting the Landscape from Imagination Rob Wellings, Instructor
Explore the freedom of artistic expression! In this four week class designed for intermediate and advanced painters, students will be introduced to the different approaches, techniques, and tools for painting the landscape from one’s imagination. Methods to strengthen our visual memory, plein air sketches, and mark making with tools beyond the brush will open up the many directions a painting can take. Learn how to approach the blank canvas, problem solve, and surprise yourself along the way! In this class we will cover:
-direct and indirect paintings techniques, such as wet on wet painting, glazing, and scumbling.
-different ways to begin a painting from imagination
-noticing mistakes and leaving the good ones alone
-abstracting elements in the landscape
-expressive mark making with the brush
-tools beyond the brush, such as the brayer.
-Cazin blot technique, Bruce, Lathrop
-Pure seeing, observation, sketching, color studies
-Letting the imagination roam, discover, existential quest to find form and meaning
-Charcoal thumbs, wipe out on canvas, direct paint on –canvas, line on canvas
-Exploring color harmony
Composing the Landscape Deborah Paris, Instructor
This class is designed to provide both an understanding of design principles and a methodology for applying them. I believe that composition is something you learn in the studio. It is an artificial structure we impose on Nature. It involves taking the raw material Nature provides and translating it into a work of art.
In this course we will cover:
~general principles of good painting design
~common compositional types
~study of masterworks as well as contemporary paintings to dissect and analyze compositional structure
~organization of value masses for maximum effect (e.g., counterchange, variety, asymmetry)
~designing for movement and rhythm through the picture plane
~using reference materials-editing, selection
~methodology for planning and your compositions (e.g., thumbnails, value sketches)
Art History Deborah Paris, Instructor
Three art history courses are offered:
19 th Century American Landscape Painting (1840-1900)- The Hudson River School, Luminism, Tonalism and early American Impressionism
Early 19th Century European Landscape Painting I (1800-1850)
19th Century European Landscape Painting II-(1850-1900)
Class Cancellations. If the class is cancelled by the instructor, students will receive a full refund. If a student is unable to participate in a class for which she/he is registered, and advises instructor prior to the commencement of the class, student may receive a credit to be applied to that class the next time it is taught or any other. Once class has begun, there are no credits or transfers available.